Mikala Dwyer
Earth­craft 2020

8th February – 14th March 2020
Anna Schwartz Gallery

Tak­ing its title from the old Eng­lish word for geom­e­try (eorõcræft), Earth­craft 2020 is a new instal­la­tion by Mel­bourne based artist Mikala Dwyer.

Typ­i­cal of Dwyer’s large-scale works, Earth­craft 2020 is a parade of sta­t­ic ele­ments, drawn from the artist’s expan­sive visu­al vocab­u­lary devel­oped through­out her career. Here, ten sep­a­rate sculp­tur­al ele­ments are sus­pend­ed from the gallery’s ceil­ing. Recur­ring motifs are con­flat­ed with var­i­ous points of ref­er­ence that relate to the exhibition’s title as well as oth­er sources, so that each ele­ment con­tains its own nar­ra­tive, as well as a link to the others.

For exam­ple, the hov­er­ing apple and plumb bob might both refer to the idea that gen­er­al rel­a­tiv­i­ty describes grav­i­ty as a byprod­uct of the geom­e­try of space­time, or they might point to rev­o­lu­tion­ary fig­ures such as Isaac New­ton and Eve. The ban­ners that book-end the instal­la­tion con­tain dis­tinct yet cod­ed sym­bol­ic imagery that could derive from an ancient lan­guage, or could oth­er­wise refer to an his­tor­i­cal peri­od of design.

Oth­er ele­ments typ­i­cal to Dwyer’s prac­tice are found in the emp­ty sculp­ture’ – a heat formed trans­par­ent plas­tic shape, mould­ed by hand, that is simul­ta­ne­ous­ly object and void, as well as the clus­ter of objects (most­ly heads) hang­ing from a chain, that expand Dwyer’s long­stand­ing rela­tion­ship with jew­ellery as sculp­ture. In these works, Dwyer takes per­son­al, inti­mate objects and scales them up as sus­pend­ed or free-stand­ing sculp­tures, such as with Hol­low­work (2013) that was based on her mother’s ring, Gertrude (2019) that was based on Gertrude Herzger-Seligmann’s South­ern Cross Brooch (c. 1960), and her ongo­ing neck­lace’ works.

The stain­less steel forms appear to approach geom­e­try in a direct way, although equal­ly con­tain ambi­gu­i­ties that pro­voke more com­plex rela­tion­ships. The Möbius strip, in par­tic­u­lar, has the math­e­mat­i­cal prop­er­ty of being un-ori­entable. Addi­tion­al­ly, the high­ly reflec­tive sur­faces impli­cate the audi­ence as inci­den­tal per­form­ers in the work, which is anoth­er com­mon aspect of the artist’s approach. Dwyer often incor­po­rates live per­form­ers to enact fan­tas­tic rit­u­al per­for­mances, where fig­ures will even wear’ the work. In the case of the stain­less steel forms, the reflect­ed audi­ence is high­ly distorted.

Earth­craft 2020 is an immer­sive envi­ron­ment drawn from Dwyer’s eclec­tic inter­ests includ­ing mys­ti­cism, occult- ism, cos­tume, his­to­ry, film and sci­ence fic­tion. The curi­ous col­lec­tion of geo­met­ric forms and sym­bols remains delib­er­ate­ly elu­sive, a sto­ry root­ed in both real­i­ty and fiction.

Images

Mikala Dwyer

Snakeloop Flat Drop, 2019
trilob­al polyester
700264 cm

Mikala Dwyer

Fall Mea­sure, 2019
pol­ished stain­less steel
6040 cm (+ string)

Mikala Dwyer

Emp­ty Sculpture, 2019
plastic
27010080 cm

Mikala Dwyer

Fall, 2019
apple, string
6060 cm (+ string)

Mikala Dwyer

Mobius and I, 2020
pol­ished stain­less steel and iphone
19040164 cm

Mikala Dwyer

Flat Square Circle, 2019
pol­ished stain­less steel and copper
350160 cm

Mikala Dwyer

Line, 2019
pol­ished stain­less steel
34612 cm

Mikala Dwyer

Col­lapsed Line, 2019
amber, gumtree, turquoise, glass, coins, clay, ban­dage, porce­lain, plas­tic, gap­filler, ready­mades, chains, hooks, wire
2807070 cm

Mikala Dwyer

Sphere, 2019
pol­ished stain­less steel
100 cm diameter

Mikala Dwyer

Tear Flat Drop, 2019
trilob­al polyester
700264 cm